Steve Thompson reveals coaching staff’s approach to Preston North End players

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Steve Thompson is hoping that the coaching staff being approachable will get the North End players back to their best next season.

Coach Thompson closely assisted Frankie McAvoy alongside Paul Gallagher, for the Lilywhites final eight games as they secured five wins.

The upturn in form was remarkable and gave North End a platform to build on going into next season, as well as landing McAvoy the role of head coach on a permanent basis.

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They were a noisy bunch on the touchline during their time in charge, which was only amplified by a lack of noise around the grounds.

PNE first-team coach Steve ThompsonPNE first-team coach Steve Thompson
PNE first-team coach Steve Thompson

McAvoy and his men introduced a more relaxed approach to the side but Thompson admits how much they care will mean they get on the players’ backs sometimes.

“We’ll make sure we get the best out of the players,” he told the Lancashire Post.

“We’re approachable as staff, we know that if it’s not going right we can give out a gee-up or a telling-off.

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“I remember I was having it out with a coach who was constantly on at me and he said it’s when they’re not on at you that you should worry, and that always stuck with me.

“I think the players respect that, that we do try and gee them up and if it isn’t going right we will try and get it right for them.

“Hopefully next year we’ll work on the young ones and the ones out of the team and with a few additions we’ll get Preston – not making any predictions – up the league.

“One thing about us is that we want them to play with a smile on their face. We want them to enjoy their football and go and excite us.”

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PNE have continued their preparations for the new campaign by confirming another pre-season friendly. A trip to face Scottish giants Celtic was announced on Tuesday evening, with a further friendly against Bolton Wanderers announced on Wednesday afternoon.

The second clash will take place July 20 with a 7pm kick off at the Lancashire FA’s County Ground.

As of yet, the club are waiting on confirmation as to whether fans can attend either the game at Celtic Park or back in Preston – but Thompson is keen to see them back.

“Hopefully next year we can get a bit of normality back at Deepdale,” he said.

“We need the fans back, it’s not been the same.

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“It’s been like playing testimonials or bounce games, if we can get normality and smiles on people’s faces – because it has been sad times for everyone.

“We’ve been having Covid tests here, going on two coaches, getting changed in boardrooms – as much as you do get on with it, you do miss the fans massively.”